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  • Writer's pictureLewis New

When to Call an Emergency Plumber

Updated: Oct 15, 2023

Emergency plumbing can be a stressful and expensive experience.

Most people won't be able to see the signs of a plumbing emergency until it is too late, but if you do find yourself typing "local emergency plumber near me" into Google at 3am in the morning, chances are you're not alone.

Whilst at Oakland Plumbing we are big believers in plumbing health checks to avoid a disaster all together, we are certainly here 24/7 for when emergencies strike.

Blocked drains.

Using a jetter to unblock a sewer drain

A slow draining shower, bad smells in your bathroom or a gurgling toilet are all indicators that you might have a blocked drain. Some blockages are more urgent than others. Often you will be able to live with a slight blockage for a while before it becomes an emergency. It is best to get a local plumber to look into your drainage before it becomes an emergency.

If you're concerned about a possible sewer blockage during the night, here are three things to consider:

1. Is the blockage in just one area in the house?

If there is only one blocked toilet or bathroom, it is likely that the blockage is in a branch line. If this is the case you probably don't need to call a 24 hours plumber. You can just avoid using that particular area and call a local plumber during normal day service.

One thing to be careful of in this situation is two story or split level houses. The downstairs bathroom may be the only one affected. This could be because the water level in the pipes hasn't risen enough to affect the bathrooms on higher floors.

2. Does water in one bathroom affect another bathroom?

If you run a tap or flush a toilet in one bathroom and the water in the toilet of another bathroom moves this is an indicator that there is a blockage in the mains.

If you have a mains blockage call a plumber straight away, it doesn't take much for that to turn into a plumbing emergency.

3. Is there sewage overflowing outside?

One thing that you can look for if you're worried about a serious blockage is your overflow relief gully. An overflow relief gully (ORG) is an outdoor drainage point that is lower than any indoor drainage points. An ORG helps prevent your house from flooding by providing a place for sewage to overflow if there is a blockage.

If you see any sewage coming from this point that is a good indicator that you have a serious blockage and should start googling "a local plumber near me".

Water leaks and burst pipes.

A PEX water pipe burst underground

A leaking tap is no reason for concern and usually won't require an emergency call out. A burst pipe on the other hand can cause a huge amount of damage in a short time. Often the leaks that cause the most damage are the ones you can't see. A leak inside a wall can quickly flood part of your home and cause damage to your floor, walls and furniture.

Here are two things to check if you're concerned about a leak but you're not sure if it's bad enough to call an emergency plumber.

1. Check your water meter.

Have a look at your water meter and see how fast the dial is moving. Make sure nobody is using any water in the house and check that no washing machines or dishwashers are running. If the meter is still running, then you have a leak somewhere.

If you don't need water until tomorrow, keep the main water valve closed and contact a local plumber tomorrow.

2. Is it a hot or cold water leak?

If you can't wait for a plumber during regular hours, there is one more option you can try. Go to your hot water unit and shut the inlet valve. Then go and look at your water meter again and see if this has stopped the meter from turning over.

If the meter has stopped then the leak is on the hot water service. You may be able to just leave the hot water off until a plumber can attend.

Gas leaks.

Checking for a gas leak

This is the most serious and potentially dangerous plumbing emergency. If you smell gas you should immediately go to the gas meter and check if it is turning over. If the meter is turning over you should turn off the inlet valve to the meter.

If you use LPG instead of natural gas you won't have a gas meter. Go to your gas bottles and turn both bottles off.

Call a gas plumber to check if your gas lines are safe before going back inside.

Your local emergency plumber.

Hopefully we have been able to help you avoid a stressful emergency plumbing call out.

If you find yourself in a plumbing emergency give us a call! We are fully licensed and insured plumbers and gas fitters.

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